How To Start a CRCA Subteam (which is a thing that you should do)
With the 2018 road season looming just a few weeks over the horizon this call for team roster updates from CRCA served as the latest reminder of how thankful we are that the Century Road Club Association is still ticking along after more than 100 years. Put simply racing bikes in NYC wouldn't be the same without CRCA's calendar that now includes twelve Club Races in Central Park, the Grant's Tomb Criterium, the Bear Mountain Classic, the Orchard Beach Criterium, the Dave Jordan Classic, the Lou Maltese Memorial, the Mengoni Grand Prix and the Fort Lee Criterium.
And while many of those races are open to non-members, the members-only Club Series in Central Park remains some of the best and least expensive racing in the area at just $100 for the entire twelve race series. Yes there are some volunteer requirements associated with being part of the club, but those obligations are a big part of why the huge calendar referenced above still exists in a period of crowded NYC Parks and declining USAC rider counts/racer day numbers. So if you're a New York City rider go out and Join CRCA when membership opens February 1st.
And better yet, start a CRCA sub-team as part of CRCA. Since sub-teams operate under the CRCA umbrella it is incredibly easy to start-up and it is great way to have a small team experience while also being part of one of the largest cycling clubs in the country. Don't feel the need to overcomplicate things with sponsorships and social media accounts and the bells and whistles out of the gate. In four simple steps here is the shortest guide to starting a CRCA team we are aware of:
Find friends (or even just a friend) that enjoy riding and racing bicycles. Our own team origin story involves a Development Team that is still around as part of CRCA many years after we 'graduated' to form our own team, but at the end of the day all it takes to start a team is a handful of like-minded riders.
Find a source for kit. We are very partial to Garneau (❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ) as we believe they make some of the finest kit in the entire industry right here in on the East Coast. But there are also a plethora of custom clothing manufacturers to choose from in the market today, most of which are capable of holding your hand through the design process. Minimums can be an issue depending on team size (another reason we ❤️ Garneau) but with a bit of research there are plenty of options on the table. If you have any questions about our Garneau kit get in touch with us and we're happy to make an introduction or lend a hand.
Join CRCA. This is an important bit because it makes your new team part of a strong and vibrant community of racers spread throughout the tri-state area. Yes there are the aforementioned volunteer obligations to keep the club running but in exchange you get access to twelve terrific races in the center of New York City for just $100 as well as a load of other benefits like access to the Club's free coaching program. And by joining/supporting CRCA you are supporting the broader race calendar discussed above. The all-volunteer CRCA Board can help with any questions - Lucia Deng (who has done some guest posts on the TBD Journal) is in charge of the sub-team process and is always a great source of guidance for any new teams or teams considering joining CRCA for the first time.
If you want to chase sponsorship dollars and discounts and all of that jazz, go for it. But don't let a lack of free stuff dissuade you about starting a team. As we wrote about in our origin story our team experience has been about so much more than getting free stuff in exchange for playing bicycles in our space time - it has been about camaraderie, lifelong friendships and being part of a larger community of nearly 800 racers as part of CRCA.